On World Cities Day 2018 we take a look at some of the urban areas Alexander Gerst has photographed from his unique vantage point on board the International Space Station.
According to a recent publication from the United Nations, an estimated 53.3 percent of the world’s population currently live in urban settlements. By 2030, this figure is expected to increase to 60 percent, with one in every three of us living in a city with at least half a million inhabitants.
This Wednesday 31 October is World Cities Day. The focus is around building sustainable and resilient cities. And from his post on board the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has a unique view.
Below are just a few of the areas affected by human influence that Alexander’s captured from the Cupola during his Horizons mission – a timely reminder of our ability to choose how we make a difference both on Earth and up in space.
City lights at night are always fascinating from space, like living organisms. I sometimes try to guess where we are just from watching these lights, without seeing the land itself. Success rate is limited… Btw, the green lights are from squid fishing fleets I believe. pic.twitter.com/i3Gix2Sovo
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) September 23, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) September 22, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 31, 2018
What an incredible effort. If these irrigation systems are fed from ancient fresh water aquifers below the African continent, then how long will they last? And what then? #WorldWaterWeek #Horizons pic.twitter.com/SKp4b4fNDm
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 29, 2018
A busy day on the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Naples. This image shows why Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous active volcanoes on this planet – it is completely surrounded by cities. #ExploreFarther #Horizons pic.twitter.com/DiUKeG8T83
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 15, 2018
Hier zum Vergleich ein paar Fotos von 2014. Krasser Unterschied, mit bloßem Auge aus dem Weltraum sichtbar…
Here for comparison a few photos from 2014, big difference, visible from space with the naked eye… pic.twitter.com/obFZQb5VC1
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 8, 2018
Subject to availability. The Amazon rainforest, or at least what’s left of it, generates a large part of the oxygen that you breathe. A few decades back, these photos would’ve been dark green. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/kH6NTnqbxj
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 26, 2018
When looking at deforestation in the Amazon, I can’t help noticing that central Europe was also once densely covered by forest. pic.twitter.com/QOjx1vms6Y
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 27, 2018